The Belmont Abbey baseball team won its first Conference Carolinas series of the year as the Crusaders swept both games of a doubleheader at King this afternoon. The Abbey won the seven inning opener 4-2, and completed the sweep with a 12-2 win in the nightcap behind Levi Wright's two homers. Belmont Abbey improves to 13-19 overall and 4-8 in Conference Carolinas, while the Tornado move to 12-20 overall and 4-5 in league play.
In the opener, Crusaders starting pitcher Parks Smithey limited King to two runs on four hits, striking out five, as he went the distance to up his record to 2-5. Cory Rhoades (2-4) took the loss despite striking out ten batters. He allowed four runs on six hits.
King pulled one back in the bottom of the frame as Garrett Cook led off with a walk and then stole second and third. He raced home on Justin Trent's groundout to short to cut the Abbey lead to 2-1.
That was all of the scoring until the fifth, when the Abbey plated two more off the bat of Anthony Dimino.
Lorenzo Wright reached on a one out infield single and moved to second when Kayden Krause was hit by a pitch. They both moved up one base on a double steal on a Vazquez strikeout, then Dimino chased both home with a single to center.
King rallied in the seventh as it scored one run, coming on a two out single, but Smithey retired Joe Ganger on a flyout to left to end the game.
Belmont Abbey finished with six hits as six different players had one each. Dimino and Stanley both recorded an RBI.
In the second game, which would decide the winner of the series, Belmont Abbey scored ten unanswered runs to break a 1-1 tie and pull away with a 12-2 victory.
The contest was tied at one through six innings, but the Abbey exploded for three in the seventh, three in the eighth and four more in the ninth.
Krause gave the Crusaders a 1-0 lead in the first as he raced home on a wild pitch. King answered in the bottom of the inning on a Tyler Gaby solo homer.
Wright put the Crusaders back on top with a solo homer in the fourth, but the Tornado tied the game again in the fifth when Tyler Raymond worked a bases loaded walk that brought home Cody Rogers, which turned out to be the final run of the game for King.
Belmont Abbey used an offensive onslaught in the final three innings, scoring ten runs on seven hits.
It began in the seventh as Stanley ripped a leadoff double, moved to third on an error and scored on Krause's sacrifice fly. Vazquez followed with a blistering triple down the rightfield line, scoring Lorenzo Wright-who walked earlier-and Kwalwasser-reached on the error that moved Stanley to third-to give the Abbey a lead it would never lose again.
The Tornado did not score in the bottom of the seventh, and the Crusaders exploded for three more in the top of the eighth, all coming on Lorenzo Wright's single to right that was misplayed, allowing Wright to race around the bases and score on the error.
King stranded one in the eighth after a single and the Crusaders tacked on four more in the ninth, three on Levi Wright's towering homer to left, his second of the day. Dimino drove in the other run with a single to left that plated Vazquez.
Logan Redmond was credited with the win in relief of Aaron Rumburg. Redmond allowed just two hits over three scoreless innings, striking out three and walking one. Rumburg pitched the first five innings, giving up two runs on four hits.
King starter Alexander Gonzalez, the first of five Tornado pitchers, gave up five runs, three earned, on five hits in six innings. He struck out four.
Belmont Abbey totaled 11 hits as Stanley finished 3-4 with two runs scored. Levi Wright drove in four runs on two hits with two runs scored. Vazquez recorded two hits and drove in two.
The Crusaders are back in action Tuesday when they host Coker in a pair of seven inning games, which begins a six game homestand. First pitch is 1:00 p.m.